Man accused of faking death facing new charges

Police: Jose Lantigua did it to collect millions in insurance money

Jose Lantigua

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. - Former Jacksonville business owner Jose Lantigua, who's accused of faking his own death, has now been charged with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Lantigua, the former owner of Circle K furniture stores in Jacksonville, is being held without bond at the Baker County Jail. 

According to authorities, Lantigua used insurance policies as collateral to secure two $1 million bank loans.

The Justice Department is seeking forfeiture of $2.8 million from Lantigua. 

He waived indictment and has first appearance on the new charges next Tuesday. 

He pleaded guilty in October to federal passport fraud and identity theft charges, which carry up to 10 years in prison. He has not been sentenced yet.

Investigators said he faked his death in South America in 2013 so his wife (pictured) could collect over $5 million.

Booking photo of Daphne Simpson

Lantigua was arrested near his wife's home in North Carolina last year after insurance investigators cracked the case by talking with a doctor in Venezuela who admitted signing a fake death certificate.

The wife's house was being built with funds from his insurance settlement. 

His wife, Daphne Simpson, pleaded guilty in Duval County last month to one federal count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

he faces a maximum of five years in prison and up to three years of supervised release. She could face fines up to $1,742,134.22.

U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux recommended less than that maximum sentence of five years but also recommended restitution from Simpson of $871,067.11.

No sentencing date was set.

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